Monday, March 7, 2016

FDR chair: mortises

At long last, the rear legs/back pieces are finished saved for final scraping and rounding over the edges.  I mentioned earlier that I left the outsides of them uncut until I had cut the mortises so I would have a stable base to work from.  There are a total of five mortises on each side.  With those cut, I  sawed out the outside edges and finished the shaping.  Here is what they look like:

I am generally quite pleased with how they turned out and, surprisingly, when laid against the photos, they seem to match quite well.  Save for the joinery faces, everywhere else is curved, which makes things quite challenging.  My one disappointment is that I didn't get the grain matched on one of them very well (the front one in the picture).  There were defects to work around and it was difficult to for me to anticipate what the grain would look like four inches into the blanks.  There would definitely be an advantage to cutting these out from a solid blank, but I simply didn't have access to any.  My hope is that, after they are stained, this won't be too noticeable.  I guess that's an advantage of a faux finish like the original.

The next step is to make the pieces to complete the backs.  These three tenons are by far the easiest of the chair.  Most of the others are very difficult because they are angled in two directions.  The seat slopes up an inch from back to front and out four inches.  To make things even more challenging, the shoulders on the stretcher tenons are slanted, as you can see from the picture.  Yikes.


  1. Awesome progress

  2. Ralph, "The Accidental Woodworker" made a comment which I somehow deleted. Here it is:

    How did you chop out the mortises? And how do you plan to do the upcoming fun ones?


    I removed the waste with my drill press and then finished the mortises with bench chisels. I think this may be the way they did it on the original, as photos of the workshop show a drill press, but they may have chopped them out.
    As for the tenons that are angled in two directions, I am wondering how I am going to do them myself. I'll post about it when I have a better idea.